March 18, 2023

Unicorn Homes Create Safe Space for LGBTQ Residents

By Malaya Cilley, Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities 


A young trans man whose family banished him from their home has found support and acceptance through a “Unicorn Home” provided by the North County LGBTQ Resource Center.

“My toxic family had destroyed my sense of self-worth,” he said. “So, when I was kicked out, I was completely helpless and alone. I didn’t have any other place to go.”

Unicorn Homes is a host home program that provides crisis and transitional housing for 14 days or more to LGBTQ youth who are, or are at risk of, experiencing homelessness. It is one of many programs the North County LGBTQ Resource Center provides to those in need. The ultimate goal is to reunite families and rectify the problems. Unicorn Homes also provides paths to mental health resources, job readiness, life coaching, and independent living skills.

The North County LGBTQ Resource Center is a nonprofit organization that strives to support, empower, and advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning community. It envisions a community safe from stigma and prejudice, one that provides a feeling of acceptance and appreciation.

According to True Colors United, it is estimated that about 7% of youth in the United States are LGBTQ, while 40% of youth experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ. Family rejection is the No. 1 reason they are unhoused. In 2021, the resource center assisted 36 individuals with housing, six of whom were placed in Unicorn host homes. 

The young trans man whose family forced him out said he was, “harassed emotionally and physically for not shaving, for kissing girls, wearing suits, and presenting as masculine.”

“I finally reached out for help,” he said. “I got another chance to make things right. I found myself humbled and overwhelmed at having nice, warm showers and a place to sleep. I can’t explain how positive my life has been since the Unicorn Homes program started. I thank the resource center every day for making the platform that I needed to shine.”

As it was for this young trans man, Unicorn Homes has become a safe space for many. If you or someone you know needs safe, transitional housing, please reach out to North County LGBTQ Resource Center.

Photo: From left are Branden Clemens, Jennifer Lanoale, director of Unicorn Homes, and Aerth Creature.